Day 26, and still going!  This time, a little bit of fun, an argument, a glimpse of humanity’s attitude towards the Terran home system (or what’s left) and the brief appearance of Captain Flakenrix and THAT ship….




The Thriss brothers were bickering.

Um, the eldest, was at the cramped dredger’s controls, the other two taking it in turn to man the navigation station.  Um was trying to fly the ship through a planetary ice ring.  Thrum and Fum were arguing about the how and why they were there.

“If you don’t stop, I’m going to shut you both in the ice tanks until we reach port.”

“But we’re not supposed to be here anyway,” complained Fum, the youngest.  “It’s forbidden.”

“Nobody lives in this system anymore apart from Titan Colony and Pluto Station, and they’re tiny.”  That was Thrum; Um didn’t have to turn around to know it.  “Terrans don’t want to know.”

“It’s still forbidden by the Navy,” argued Fum.

“Both of you shut up,” growled Um.

He activated the dredger’s collectors, sucking in the ice and minerals that orbited the gas giant Saturn.  Everybody knew the Sol system was off-limits for mining, building, and anything other than tours.  This was the ancient home of humanity, devastated and abandoned, but never forgotten, leaving an horrendous scar on their racial memory.

Warning lights flashed on the navigation panels.

“What’s that?” demanded Um.

“It’s an FTL reading,” answered Thrum.  “Coming in ahead of us.  The signature’s big.”

“That starship we saw before?” wailed Fum.

“Could be.”

The dredged shook around them as the starship in question came out of FTL only a few hundred metres from the stunted bow of their dredger, the wake rocking them about.

“We are in so much trouble,” moaned Fum.

“That’s a big ship,” whispered Thrum, shrinking into his chair.

The comms channels went crazy, one single transmission overloading their cheap and tacky communications array.  Um tapped the open control.

“This is Captain Flakenrix of the HMS Enterprise.  You are trespassing and committing a serious felony.  Stand down and prepared to be boarded.”

Um swore loudly.

26 - Tiny Saturn-BrettLambright

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